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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,589 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,589
Hads: 7,086
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 926
Gots: 2,533 | FT: 243
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,589 | Hads: 7,086
Photo of Hoptimus-Prime
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, 5/5 isn't easily earned but for me , this beer couldn't taste better than it does, perfection!

Pours darker than I expected, dark brown allowing minimal light to shine through. Not much of a head or lacing, but that's not important to me. Corbonatotion levels can make or break a beer and this one doesn't need any more or less.

Smells of Bourbon with a slight sweetness cutting through.

The taste...oh the taste! First impression leads you to believe this I going to be a boozy monster of a beer, BIG bourbon takes front and center only to lead to a sweeter butterscotch flavor that counteracts the alcohol taste perfectly!

Medium bodied and sticky on the tounge , the taste that lingers on the palate is remarkable!

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had, lives up to the hype and then some! Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%.
Founders has given me another reason to consider them one of the best breweries out there!

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Photo of JamesMN
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Payed $4.55 + tax for one 12oz bottle. Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Thick and opaque dark amber. Very thin tan head despite a vigorous pour.

Aroma: Immediately get the vanilla and oak aromas. Raisin, burnt caramel, and a bit of alcohol. Quite complex but approachable.

Taste: This beer has a lot going for it right off the bat. The sweet palate compensates for the big alcohol presence reining in the flavor for some balance. Rich oak aged profiles of slightly smokey wood, viscous caramel, and a hint of vanilla. Halfway through the flavor changes and adds brown sugar, a bit of chocolate, and dark dried fruits. The aftertaste leaves you wanting more with a ringing caramel flavor that shifts into a dark chocolate taste before slowly fading away. At 10.2% ABV the alcohol is present but not overwhelming. Minimal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but not cloying or too syrupy. A sipper but real easier to drink at a quicker pace. The carbonation is where I'd expect for a barrel aged beer and leads to a smooth enjoyment.

Final Thoughts: Completely worth the money and unique. I'm starting to like barrel aged beers more and more because of tasting something like Backwoods Bastard which is brewed and aged to near perfection. Would I drink it again? This year if I can find it!(Would love to cellar a few of these bad boys). Otherwise I'll be on the lookout for next years release.

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Photo of Sokpuppet1
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Bourbon notes right off the pour. A sweet, caramel-chocolate taste that's not too strong and very pleasant. Really smooth. An easy drinker and one that packs in the alcohol without harshness. Great relaxation beer.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells of Vanilla, Bourbon, Licorice, alcohol. Had this fresh and now a few months past. The vanilla has definitely faded leaving more of a bourbon alcohol, heat, and oak presence to this beer. Still good, just one i won't be aging. The scotch ale is in there somewhere providing a great base for this beer to stand on.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

105th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12oz bottle

Thanks CosmoHopHead for the gift!

App- A dark brown with not very much head and not much for swirl marks either.

Smell- A nice oaky boozy with hints of dark fruits (raisin, fig) some light vanilla and the bourbon of course.

Taste- I get the use of the Scotch ale. This does not drink like a beer. Such a fine and superb taste. I really enjoyed it.

Mouth- A bit less than a full mouthfeel with a nice low carb to give a nice beer.

Drink- I have one. I want more.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a deep, rich mahogany color, with a nice cap of light brown foam, which rather quickly settles in along the side of the glass, leaving only random bubbles upon the surface. Aromas of bourbon, dark brown sugar, caramel, toffee and vanilla. On the palate, this beer is absolutely delicious, with more great bourbon flavor, toasted malt, caramel and a little bit of milk chocolate. The bourbon here is integrated so well, and the 10% alcohol is barely noticeable. Another incredible effort from Founders.

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Photo of BrokenStones
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet, auburn, carmel, boozy, long finish.
12 oz bottle into a chilled pint glass.
Pours auburn, 1/2" head, burnt carmel & alcohol on the nose.
Almost feels like the high test Cab's coming out of Napa Valley these days. Big mouthfeel, dark sweet candy, alcohol upfront, round and biting. Very worthy to seek out and hang on to.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

A heavy looking beer that pours dark brown with a khaki head that leaves a lot of trail on the glass. The smell was full of wood and alcohol but also some vanilla on the end. The taste was amazing with hints of big flavors such as the vanilla and bourbon up front and then the sweet malt masking a slight burn on the end. Very well done and very tasty. Also really liked the weight of the beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber/brown with a great head and lacing. Smells malty and fruity with fig and cherry. Sweet and smooth aromas that are bold but not cloying. The taste is sweet and somewhat grainy, with more deep flavors of fig, dates, butterscotch and a touch of peat to control all the sweet stuff. Quite creamy and full in the mouth, the flavors explode here. This pushes the edge of too sweet but holds on to enough complexity and pure, clean flavors to be very enjoyable.

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Photo of Bighead6365
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A beautiful dark brown, with a slight hue of red. Looks thick, rich, and laces the glass.

Smell: Smell of vanilla, bourbon barrel, booze, malt, and then a slight backing of hops on the back.

Taste: Vanilla, Caramel, and then an overushing of whiskey, followed by the smoothing of malt. Real real nice, layered, flavorful, and delicious.

Mouthfeel: I don't know if this is a bad thing, or a good thing, but I actually find this plenty sessionable. It's definitely not light, but I've had some heavier beers, and this goes down easy and smooth. It might be hard to drink a ton of them, but I could definitely drink a few.

Overall: An amazing solid beer from Founders (What isn't?). Get it, drink it, and enjoy!

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Photo of ctjoumas
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Color of the beer is a deep brown color with great clarity. Not much head - only a thin layer which quickly dissipated. Outstanding smell of bourbon with a hint of caramel. Mouthfeel is a bit lighter than expected and the up front taste is very similar to the smell. A hint of sweetness coupled with coffee notes mixes with the bourbon creating a nice flavor. Finishing taste is back to the flavor of -bourbon with what I detect as a bit of hoppiness at the end.

Overall, great beer and the first of the bourbon barrel beers I've tasted. Definitely a fan and will be on the lookout for more.

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Photo of paxchristi
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle dated 10/13/2011 into crystal snifter.

Appearance: Pours a fairly cloudy, dark amber color with very little head. Should be expected for a bourbon aged Wee Heavy at 10.2%ABV. Pretty dirty looking, although I must say that it looks a bit less cloudy and "dirty" than the dirty bastard to my eye. Looks like a good Wee Heavy.

Smell: Wow, there is a huge bourbon on the front end of this nose. Underneath there is a rather big oaky vanilla note. After this there is a big scotch malt reminiscent of the Dirty Bastard.

Taste: HUGE bourbon on the front end. Its followed by a semi-sweet and semi-bitter vanilla note underwritten by a beautiful, rich, complex oakiness that holds the entire front end together. In the middle is a big, dirty malt bomb followed by some booze. I also catch some raisins and other dark fruits on the end and perhaps the slightest bit of hop bitterness. The blend is master craft.

Mouth: I can see where some may have wanted a bit more carbonation on this one. The carbonation was good for me, although as it warmed in the glass, it seemed to have more of the consistency of a liquor the glass more than a beer. It reminded me of my experience with DFH WWS in this respect. Moderate to heavy in the mouth and very smooth. After about three of these, my mouth begins to numb.

Overall: Simply a masterpiece. Most people talk about KBS and CBS but personally I like the Backwoods Bastard twice as much as CBS or KBS. I think the big malts and the big bourbons are a flavor preference (and perhaps a bit less accessible than the smoothness of a stout), but this is simply a big, complex brew that hits on all the right notes for me. Its a big boozy malt bomb that shows enough restraint to provide some balance.

Quite simply my new personal favorite. Founders has reached legendary status with this one in my book. \m/m/

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A for a scotch ale this thing looks amazing. Tons of legs and lacing. Deep deep amber brown color with nice retention especially considering the abv

S caramel, toffee, dark fruits and bourbon. Smells really good

T delicious. Follows the nose almost exactly. Not a huge bourbon character but it is present way on the back end. I would score this a 5 if the flavors hung on a little longer. No alcohol burn.

M maybe perfect for the style. Sometimes beers like this have so little carbonation combined with the high abv they become hard to drink. This is scary easy to drink

O excellent beer. Was really looking forward to this one. As previously stated its perfect for the cold weather. Reminds me a bit of Bois with much higher drinkability and without the crazy alcohol presence. This has nice big flavors but tastes very controlled and balanced like most founders offerings. I could drink this everyday.

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Photo of Moheban
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color. Thin white head around the rim. Strong aroma of vanilla, caramel and bourbon predominate. Intense favors which all work together into a very complex taste that follows the nose. Quite a bit of heat fom the alcohol. The mouthfeel is one of my favorite parts of this beer, very creamy, rich and buttery. Overall a fantastic sipper, rich in complex flavors.

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Photo of Demer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown with a small head that goes away soon after pouring.

Immediately upon nosing this beer you get huge bourbon which dominates followed by caramel, dark fruits and caramelized malts.

This beer tastes like Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and definitely some oak in there.

This is a heavy bodied beer but its easy drinking. Its definitely a sipper but its dangerously drinkable. Its very smooth and creamy. Great beer glad I have a few more to see how they age.

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Photo of Shwilly_Vanilli
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

I loved the 2013 Backwoods Bastard. The 2014 has even surpassed last years brew in quality. Rich and decadent, with pronounced milk chocolate and caramel flavors balanced out with light oak from the bourbon barrels. So smooth. Incredible mouthfeel. A bit boozy, but I fully expect that to balance out with a bit of bottle aging. As good as scotch ale gets.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark ruby in color with some brown and orange highlights. Very clean and clear with some cascading bubbles forming a tight thin head. When held to the light this gives off some beautiful colors.

Aroma - lots of vanilla, cherry, oak, bourbon and sherry in the nose. This has picked up an absolute ton of aroma from the barrels it was aged in, its one of the more vanilla-ey and bourbon-ey smelling beers I've come across. That being said, it really smells warm and inviting and I look forward to that first sip.

Taste - wow is that smooth, its like silk on the tongue. Lots of big, bold vanilla and oak flavors, the tannins come out and dry the tongue but I also notice a bit of hoppiness which I didn't expect but then again those 50 IBUs are coming from somewhere. Nice sweet and tart cherry flavors come out and mesh well with the vanilla. My stomach is warm and I have a smile on my face. I love this beer.

Overall - I am blown away by how drinkable this is at 10.2%. I have found myself trying to slow down! This is extremely smooth and creamy with a ton of flavor and complexity. The best way to sum this up is just by saying its "gorgeous" and multifaceted. You will drain that bottle into your glass more than twice to get every little drop out. One of a kind and not to be missed.

Would I buy more of it? - I bought one bottle to give this one a try and now I am kicking myself for not shelling out the $14 for a 4-pack, I believe its worth every penny. Hopefully I'll find some more before its all gone

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Photo of darthvohn
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass Used: Imperial glass

Appearance: A deep Grade B Maple syrup color; thick pour with a few mils thin head.

Smell: For me, I got a huge whiff of praline & carmelization with oak & some bourbon with the vapor of the alcohol.

Taste: Perfectly balanced bourbon and oak upfront, finishing with a sweet soft bourbon and what I can only describe as homemade butterscotch (not the candy). Though the alcohol is present in the aftertaste, it's not harsh.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation and smooth.

Overall: This is a complex and well crafted beer. I absolutely love everything about this one and will revisit an aged bottle this time next year.

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Photo of qawsed
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Served on tap in a snifter in FL

Scotch ales are usually hit or miss for me, but this hit it out of the park.

I was nervous at first because Bastard is so overpowering bourbony on the nose, but once I had my first taste I was hooked.

A lot of nice bourbon flavor without the kind of burn I would expect out of a 10+% brew. A little vanilla on the back end, and even some creaminess, if you haven't tried this beer before and you can find it in your area, do yourself a favor and give it a go.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L - Very dark reddish-brown, clear with a creamy dark chocolate head that lingers, leaving fine lace and thick rings.

A - Luxurious bourbon and chocolate, lactose and malt, light smoke.

F - Elegantly balanced malt sweetness with bourbon alcohol. Rich layers of powerful flavors yet subtle as well. Lingering finish.

M - Creamy smooth, full body modest fine carbonation, warming alcohol.

O - This is a sipping beer, perfectly built for reading fireside on a cold, snowy Autumn afternoon. Add someone you love to share the calm, and you just might glimpse the meaning of life well lived. This may well be the best beer I have had this year so far.

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Photo of Gr8Stouts
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very close to Weyerbacher Insanity, a bit smoother with not as much bourbon. For my taste I prefer Insanity over BB. Great Ale and I will buy it when ever I can find it.

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Photo of Jayroda82
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok... Bottled 10.15.14...... Just cracked this bad boy open on 8.2.15.....

I find myself at my local distributor carrying out a prairie bomb, breakfast oatmeal stout, or kbs(when around) and now this. I love how the kbs is a magician and changes sip to sip from heavy vanilla notes to coffee... The bomb and breakfast a solid stout throughout.... Now this one was a pleasant surprise. Perfectly balanced... No signs of rubbing alcohol. Maybe i got the lucky 4 pack, but this will be my new favorite go to beer in the colder months. If u see it, try it. Good job founders.

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Photo of williamjbauer
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/2012, served in a weizen glass thanks to boilerfood for this one.

Deep mahagony with some light penetrating and a 1.5 finger soapy khaki head with moderate retention and moderate lacing.

Heavenly aroma, one of my favorites, great caramel and molasses notes flood the nostrils. Tastes sweet caramel at the tip of the palate and complex malts evolve on the middle while drier oaky, tannic woody flavors finish the experience.

A fantastic beer, maybe the best scotch ale I have had so far. This is number 97/100 of my quest to complete the BA hall of fame. Three more to go!

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Photo of Onibubba
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with a short lived white head. Nothing amazing. The smell however, is quite amazing. Huge hits of vanilla, coconut, and bourbon. Really awesome. Taste has less of the bourbon, but all of the coconut and malt. Very german chocolate cake like. Smooth as silk body, and while the bourbon is prominant, it is not overpowering. Very good stuff. I will be picking up much more of this on the next release.

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Photo of richj1970
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter

A: Deep rich brown with small one finger off white head that dissipated quickly. Some minimal lacing but not much.

S: Nose of this one is incredible. Lots of cherry, vanilla, sweet caramel, warm bread, and bourbon. Makes me want to guzzle it down.

T: Lots of flavor with bourbon and vanilla up front. Some cherry, sweet butterscotch, caramels. Some alcohol heat coming up in the back.

M: Full bodied with minimal carbonation. A bit sticky sweet, but pleasant to drink.

O: Very nice brew. I'm going to have to savor the four pack I managed to pick up and go in search of more.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,589 ratings.